Author Topic: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6  (Read 515773 times)

Offline BadgerLegs

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #1580 on: 04/29/2018 07:38 pm »
Hmmm, not sure what advantage that road would have over Indiana.  Are they going to install an LNG pipeline or just a road?  If they are looking to truck a BFR or ITS across from the port to the launch site, that would save 8.4 miles, however Indiana does not seem to provide any insurmountable obstacles.  Why not just pay to permanently move any utilities along the current path.  Would be LOTS cheaper than to build another whole road, in my opinion.  I am concerned that SpaceX isn't being responsive.  I wonder who they're trying to talk to?

Offline Dave G

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #1581 on: 04/29/2018 07:52 pm »
https://www.cob.us/DocumentCenter/View/5508/03-07-18-Tech-Mtg-Pkt

More or less the same route they had in 2015, except now they don't show the future port international bridge.

Offline Dave G

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #1582 on: 04/29/2018 08:10 pm »
If they are looking to truck a BFR or ITS across from the port to the launch site...

I'm still guessing the BFR launch pad will be around 5 miles offshore, with the control center in Boca Chica Village, propellant storage near Boca Chica Beach, and underwater pipes, fiber, and electrical lines running to the offshore pad.

In this scenario, BFR would not be trucked to the launch site.

Note that the Brownsville East Loop project has been in the works for many years, i.e. before SpaceX came to the area.  The Port of Brownsville is a fairly major seaport, and building new highways to connect with the seaport has been ongoing.  For example, they recently finished Highway 550, an outer belt that connects the seaport to the North.  The new SH32 outer belt will connect the seaport to the South.
« Last Edit: 04/29/2018 08:13 pm by Dave G »

Offline matthewkantar

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #1583 on: 04/29/2018 08:15 pm »
If they are looking to truck a BFR or ITS across from the port to the launch site...

I'm still guessing the BFR launch pad will be around 5 miles offshore, with the control center in Boca Chica Village, propellant storage near Boca Chica Beach, and underwater pipes, fiber, and electrical lines running to the offshore pad.

In this scenario, BFR would not be trucked to the launch site.

Note that the Brownsville East Loop project has been in the works for many years, i.e. before SpaceX came to the area.  The Port of Brownsville is a fairly major seaport, and building new highways to connect with the seaport has been ongoing.  For example, they recently finished Highway 550, an outer belt that connects the seaport to the North.  The new SH32 outer belt will connect the seaport to the South.

Considering SpaceX had never made a peep about an offshore platform (except as a notion in BFR P2P vid), has filed no papers or permits for such a thing, and that they spent a pile of money assembling a pile of dirt on shore, I think a guess that there will be an offshore launch platform near Boca Chica is a bad guess.

Offline DistantTemple

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #1584 on: 04/29/2018 08:32 pm »
The "port road" requirements list; "Required for SpaceX", and "attracting space industry to Brownsville Port", as two justifications. (in the above documents on the last page of this thread)

At first during the testing stage, they might well "truck" the BFS from the port to Boca Chica SX site, and the "launch pad" OK it will take 3 lanes , and not go under any normal bridges.(and there aren't any).. and route 4 would have to be just closed for the duration, but it does look possible. One problem is when SX needs the road for the first BFS's will the "Port road" be ready in time? Because there is no other possible route. CH4 and O2 by truck at first.... then later those LPG terminals suddenly look attractive!
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Offline Dave G

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #1585 on: 04/29/2018 08:36 pm »
Considering SpaceX had never made a peep about an offshore platform (except as a notion in BFR P2P vid), has filed no papers or permits for such a thing...

SpaceX has filed no papers or permits for launching BFR from Boca Chica Beach.

The current EIS doesn't allow anything bigger than Falcon Heavy.  In addition, the EIS doesn't allow sub-orbital test launches of anything bigger than Falcon 9.

Any amendments to the EIS require a public notice and comment period, so we would know if SpaceX had made such a request.

For an offshore pad, I think getting approvals will be much easier.  Nobody around for miles.

Offline guckyfan

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #1586 on: 04/30/2018 05:02 am »
The current EIS doesn't allow anything bigger than Falcon Heavy.  In addition, the EIS doesn't allow sub-orbital test launches of anything bigger than Falcon 9.

A BFS with only the central engines installed won't be bigger, in thrust, than Falcon 9.

Offline Nomadd

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #1587 on: 04/30/2018 07:34 am »
Hmmm, not sure what advantage that road would have over Indiana.  Are they going to install an LNG pipeline or just a road?  If they are looking to truck a BFR or ITS across from the port to the launch site, that would save 8.4 miles, however Indiana does not seem to provide any insurmountable obstacles.  Why not just pay to permanently move any utilities along the current path.  Would be LOTS cheaper than to build another whole road, in my opinion.  I am concerned that SpaceX isn't being responsive.  I wonder who they're trying to talk to?
Indiana is about 2 steps above goat track between 4 and 802. Fixing it to handle a BFS would be building a whole other road. And the new highway to the port isn't because of SpaceX. It would be going in in any case. Somebody sounds a little confused, thinking that SpaceX mainly needs it for air freight.
 LNG facilities have nothing to do with it. They're all several miles to the east.
« Last Edit: 04/30/2018 07:45 am by Nomadd »
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Offline Dave G

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #1588 on: 04/30/2018 12:40 pm »
The current EIS doesn't allow anything bigger than Falcon Heavy.  In addition, the EIS doesn't allow sub-orbital test launches of anything bigger than Falcon 9.

A BFS with only the central engines installed won't be bigger, in thrust, than Falcon 9.

True, but the EIS doesn't mention anything about thrust in relation to suborbital test vehicles.  It only says:
"such vehicles would be smaller than the Falcon 9 and may consist of the first stage of a Falcon 9".

Later, the EIS says:
"Within the 12 launch operations per year, the Proposed Action also includes permitted launches of reusable suborbital launch vehicles. A reusable suborbital launch vehicle could consist of a Falcon 9 Stage 1 tank with a maximum propellant (LOX and RP-1) load of approximately 6,900 gal."

It's obvious that SpaceX was talking about Grasshopper here.  Remember that the EIS was originally written before SpaceX had even attempted landing a first stage.

So taking something that was written in 2013 for Grasshopper and trying to apply it to a vehicle many times the size, I don't think that will pass muster with the FAA.

Again, I'm not saying that the EIS is some type of rigid document that cant be changed, I'm only saying that amendments to the EIS require public notice, which means we would know if SpaceX has requested changes. For example, in 2015, when SpaceX requested more soil remediation and a land-bridge to the South, there was a public notice and comment period which was covered by the local media.

So if SpaceX had requested suborbital test launches of BFS at Boca Chica Beach, we would have heard something.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #1589 on: 04/30/2018 01:13 pm »
BFS is smaller in all dimensions (on the landing pad) than F9Rdev1. F9ís legs were wider and F9 is taller than BFS.

I think BFS could arguably fit under the wording of the current EIS. And by limiting the fuel load and lift-off thrust, could fit within the intention as well.

BFR canít. But these things can and do change.
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Offline Dave G

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #1590 on: 04/30/2018 01:52 pm »
I think BFS could arguably fit under the wording of the current EIS.
The FAA will decide if it fits under the current EIS, and they're known for being sensitive to public opinion.

If the average Joe looks at BFS next to Falcon 9, they would say BFS is bigger.

BFR canít. But these things can and do change.
I agree. 

My point is: If it changes, we'll know about it.  Any changes to the EIS require public notice and comment period.

Since we haven't heard anything, it's reasonable to assume SpaceX hasn't requested BFR launches from Boca Chica Beach.

On the other hand, if BFR will use an offshore pad, I believe that goes through a different type of approval process which may not require public notice.

Offline testguy

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #1591 on: 04/30/2018 02:09 pm »
If they are looking to truck a BFR or ITS across from the port to the launch site...

I'm still guessing the BFR launch pad will be around 5 miles offshore, with the control center in Boca Chica Village, propellant storage near Boca Chica Beach, and underwater pipes, fiber, and electrical lines running to the offshore pad.

In this scenario, BFR would not be trucked to the launch site.

Note that the Brownsville East Loop project has been in the works for many years, i.e. before SpaceX came to the area.  The Port of Brownsville is a fairly major seaport, and building new highways to connect with the seaport has been ongoing.  For example, they recently finished Highway 550, an outer belt that connects the seaport to the North.  The new SH32 outer belt will connect the seaport to the South.

I took some grief after posting what's below during the middle of February in the SpaceX Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship thread. It is consistant with your point of view. I know this is not the correct thread but it does cross over with this thread.  Does anyone have definative informtion on the new ship/barge which would support or go against this speculation?


Let me speculate further and state that the new ASDS under construction may actually ultimately be used for BFR/S.

First here is what we know:
A. SpaceX is flexible and is uses continuing improvement as seen in Falcon 9 airframe and engines, GSE, and ASDS.
B. There has surprisingly has been less construction activity at BC than we would have expected by now considering the schedule for BFS.
C. BC EIS currently has limits on numbers of launches per year.  Yes we know this could be modified but we have not seen evidence of that yet.
D. SpaceX wants to retire Falcon 9 and Falcon 9 Heavy as soon as BFR/S comes on line, ASAP.
E. SpaceX has stated that they are looking at BFS hops possibly from shore to ship or even ship to ship.
F. The 2017 IAC video shows the point to point BFR/S being launched off a large sea platform that also contains the GSE for refueling.

Given all of the above, I would speculate that the ASDS under construction is much larger than OCISLY and ultimately could develop into the sea point to point configuration shown in the 2017 IAC video. 
Here is why:
1. Why would you spend capital funds on a OCISLY clone when you already know you want to retire it ASAP.  Possibly before you could recover your return on investment (ROI)?
2.  Building a large ASDS now that could ultimately be modified to a full sea launch BFR/S could explain why construction at BC currently appears sparse.
3.  The large ASDS could initially be used for Falcon Heavy recoveries.  We know already that will not be in high demand and will be relatively short lived.
4. The large ASDS  if used for BFS would get around the EIS restrictions and could explain the lack of EIS modification activity.
5.  BFS hops, I believe could be launched of a concrete pad just as Grasshopper was.  After all that is a better platform that it will initially have on MARS.  The initial hoppers could land on the large ASDS to midegate  fears of the BC community.
6. Fuel/oxidizer tanks an GSE equipment could be added to the large ASDS latter when it could be used for BFR/S launches.
7. Not sure I see a need for a causeway or fuel and oxidizer lines running out to the large ADDS.  Why not just transport by ship to fill the tanks on the ASDS.  Control of GSE could simply be performed from a shore control room linked via a fire optic network.

It would be exciting, at least to me if SpaceX was using this approach because it would indicate that they are progressing faster than many perceive.



« Last Edit: 04/30/2018 02:29 pm by testguy »

Online SPITexas

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #1592 on: 04/30/2018 03:26 pm »
So if the FAA hasnít approve BFS or BFR but eventually if there doing a Ocean launch pad. Is SpaceX still planning to launch The Falcon 9 and Heavy. Because the launch site is still  considered GTO for satellites. 

Offline meberbs

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #1593 on: 04/30/2018 03:55 pm »
On the other hand, if BFR will use an offshore pad, I believe that goes through a different type of approval process which may not require public notice.
I am pretty sure the current EIS is not written to allow miles of underwater methane pipes starting at the beach. We will find out about any such plans just as soon either way.

I agree at sea testing is a reasonable guess, but right now we have no evidence, and I am tired of seeing the same discussion repeated when there is still no evidence, and people somehow acting like "no evidence" can be used as evidence. At some point since IAC 2017, I remember seeing a quote mentioning that the initial BFS testing could be on land or at sea, and it seemed the exact plan was undecided at that point. We will find out more soon enough, probably this calendar year.

Offline b ramsey

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #1594 on: 04/30/2018 04:11 pm »
Maybe this has already been mentioned, wanted to point out, the Falcon Heavy is 12.2 m in width at its widest point and BFR/BFS is only 9 m so the BFS isn't really bigger than the Heavy depending on how you want to look at the size and how the pad can handle the BFR/BFS.

Offline Dave G

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #1595 on: 04/30/2018 04:19 pm »
I am pretty sure the current EIS is not written to allow miles of underwater methane pipes starting at the beach. We will find out about any such plans just as soon either way.
Or perhaps they could start out shipping the propellant and add the underwater pipes later.

I agree at sea testing is a reasonable guess, but right now we have no evidence, and I am tired of seeing the same discussion repeated when there is still no evidence, and people somehow acting like "no evidence" can be used as evidence. At some point since IAC 2017, I remember seeing a quote mentioning that the initial BFS testing could be on land or at sea, and it seemed the exact plan was undecided at that point. We will find out more soon enough, probably this calendar year.
Point taken.

However, when multiple people assume BFR will be trucked from the sea port, and say "an offshore launch platform near Boca Chica is a bad guess", I feel compelled to respond.
« Last Edit: 04/30/2018 04:20 pm by Dave G »

Offline Dave G

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #1596 on: 04/30/2018 04:38 pm »
Maybe this has already been mentioned, wanted to point out, the Falcon Heavy is 12.2 m in width at its widest point and BFR/BFS is only 9 m so the BFS isn't really bigger than the Heavy depending on how you want to look at the size and how the pad can handle the BFR/BFS.

To clarify, the current EIS only allows:
ē 12 total launches a year.
ē Orbital launches of Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy only.
ē Suborbital test launches of vehicles that are "smaller than Falcon 9" (subject to interpretation).
ē Additionally, Falcon Heavy is limited to 2 launches a year.

Also, Texas state law doesn't allow Boca Chica Beach closures on summer weekends or holidays (Memorial Day through Labor Day), effectively prohibiting any land-based launches on those days.

Again, anything in the EIS can be changed, but that requires public notice, which we haven't seen.

However, changing the Texas state beach closure law would require a new legislation, signed by the Governor.

Offline cscott

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #1597 on: 04/30/2018 05:11 pm »

However, when multiple people assume BFR will be trucked from the sea port, and say "an offshore launch platform near Boca Chica is a bad guess", I feel compelled to respond.

And "multiple people" feel compelled to respond to you because you insist on making the same points with the same (lack of) evidence, again and again and again.  The "multiple people" are in fact re-stated accepted "conventional wisdom".  You are restating your own opinion.

I'm not saying either position is right or wrong, just that we don't have new information to justify continued discussion of the topic.

You could just reply with a single sentence fragment "...or offshore launch" and we'd all get your point just fine without having to wade through multiple redundant posts.

Sorry to be so blunt, but just look at the post ratio here.
« Last Edit: 04/30/2018 05:15 pm by cscott »

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And a few others highlighted Cscott's post as correct, so Dave - you've made your point, it's been addressed, give it a rest now :)

PS New threads for these very long threads this week as we refresh and improve the SpaceX sections. This one will be a Thread 7 real soon. That'll help things.

Offline joesmith

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Re: SpaceX Texas launch site Discussion and Updates - Thread 6
« Reply #1599 on: 04/30/2018 08:05 pm »
You have a LOT of friends here Dave...enough said.

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